Objective: More than 50% of the world's population is bilingual (Grosjean, 2008; Taler et. al., 2013). Research shows that bilinguals perform differently than monolinguals on tests of neuropsychological functioning (Bialystok, 2009; Taler et. al., 2013). The present study examined English first language (EFL) and English second language (ESL) speakers on total words produced and performance characteristics of clustering and switching within verbal fluency tasks. We predicted that EFL would outperform ESL speakers when only total words generated was scored, cross-validating previous findings. However, we predicted that ESL would more effectively use clustering and switching compared to EFL and perhaps serve as an important way of more fully characterizing the performance of bilinguals on verbal fluency tasks. Method: Participants were neurologically and psychologically healthy undergraduate students divided into two groups, EFL (n = 83) and ESL (n = 56). Participants were administered a neuropsychological battery that included a phonemic (Controlled Oral Word Association Test) and a semantic (Animal Naming) verbal fluency task. Results: No significant differences between groups with respect to age, education, and gender were found. An independent t-test revealed significant differences between groups for COWAT total words (EFL> ESL, p = .007) and for phonemic switches (EFL > ESL, p = .005). No other group differences were found. Conclusion: Results support our first hypothesis, cross-validating previous findings on the relationship between bilingualism and verbal fluency (Bialystok, et al., 2009). Results did not support our second hypothesis; in fact, phonemic switching was significantly different between groups in the unanticipated direction. Results are discussed in light of methodological limitations and directions for future research.

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